The postcard sent to alumni in 1936, drawn by
art department faculty member George Keller.
The 2009 season marked the 82nd consecutive year that Bloomsburg has celebrated Homecoming, dating back to November of 1928. The beginnings of this collegiate tradition can be traced to 1909, when two senior societies at the University of Illinois asked that a weekend be set aside where alumni and former students could come back to renew friendships and meet with current students. This celebration was first held in October, 1910, and was centered around the Illinois-Chicago football game.
Schools around the country began adopting this tradition, and Bloomsburg was no different. Alumni started returning to campus for a few years during the 1920s to see old friends and a football game, which led to the first official Homecoming held on Saturday, November 17, 1928. The activities for the day were limited, but our opponent on the gridiron was Bloomsburg's oldest and most bitter rival, the Wyoming Seminary of Kingston.
Alumni, parents, and friends were invited to participate in all of the Homecoming Day festivities, but the game they watched was a disappointment as Wyoming won 25-0. It was played before a crowd of 3000 spectators and turned out to be the last time the Seminary would ever play a football game in Bloomsburg. The rest of the day though turned out well, beginning with an informal reception that was held in the gymnasium. This was a time for the alumni to be together and get reacquainted. Dinner was served at 6:00 in the college dining hall, followed by a dance for the alumni and their guests in the gym from 7:30-10:30. It was decorated in Maroon and Gold, and the music was furnished by Alexander’s Orchestra. Hundreds of alumni returned for the day, which was a big success even with losing the game.
The second Homecoming in 1929 was more involved and turned into an all-day
event. A committee was set up to coordinate activities and letters were
sent out to notify the alumni, more than 1000 of which responded, along
with hundreds of guests. They enjoyed the planned events and this time
the football game as well, when Bloomsburg defeated East Stroudsburg 13-0.
The dance held in the old gym the night of Bloomsburg's
10th Homecoming, October 23, 1937
|Homecoming during the 1930s developed into a very well
organized and successful celebration. It was sometimes tied in with other
events, such as the dedication of the Ben Franklin Training School in November
of 1930. Student committees were responsible for decorating the campus
in the colors of both schools, and the freshmen hung streamers from the
monument in Market Square and from light poles and trees in the business
district on Main Street and down East Street.
|The decorations in the gym for the dances became more elaborate under the direction of Art professor George Keller, with the 1938 motif including a huge silhouette of Carver Hall. Through 1941 the schedule for the day did not vary, with a band concert in the morning, then lunch, the football game, tea, dinner, and a dance. This changed in 1942 due to World War II. The varsity football team was dropped for two years, and in its place a soccer match was substituted the first year, and for the second a football game was held between two squads from the Navy V-12 program.||
Homecoming at Bloomsburg has always been an important and festive occasion, highlighted by the football game. Through the 2009 season we have celebrated 80 Homecoming games, with an all-time record of 49-30-1. Even though Homecoming has changed a lot over the years it remains one of the high points of the school year, and an important way for Bloomsburg alumni to relive their college days and once again root on the Huskies.